Dreher Is on to Rationalism in Religion


And he sees the resemblance between "conservative" fundamentalists and most modern, American "conservatives":
Well, anyway, I have no interest in engaging in theological disputation here, and won’t. What prompts this post is my curiosity about this question: Does laying hold to a position so extreme and so ungrounded in history leave people like Mr. Bible Church vulnerable in other ways to the forces of modernity, which deny the authority of the past? That is, does the nature of their conservatism leave Christian fundamentalists particularly vulnerable to the cultural forces that are tearing Christianity apart in the West?

This reminds me of firebrand political conservatives who seem to think conservatism began with Ronald Reagan, and that before his appearance among us, there was a vast void between the age of the Founding Fathers, and Reagan’s coming. Their historical ignorance denies them deeper philosophical resources that they could rightly draw on to defend their position against contemporary challenges. All true conservatives — as opposed to ideologues — lay hold to continuity with the past, and the democracy of the dead.


  1. Notice that Dreher does not identify any particular writers or venues as examples of the Reagan-worshipping "firebrand political conservatives" he refers to in the second paragraph. Perhaps the Wall Street Journal editorial page fits his description, but not much else, IMHO.

    He has a good insight on the evangelicals' vulnerability to anti-Christian cultural forces. I think the evangelicals' problem is not just lack of tradition but lack of philosophy. Orthodox Jews have plenty of tradition but, like the evangelicals, few philosophical resources to fall back on, and are similarly beginning to succumb to the same social forces.


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